22 Sep World Equestrian Games
The quadrennial competition boasts the highest viewing figures for an equestrian event, with over 500 million tuning in over the two week duration of the games. It was estimated that more than 500,000 people attended the games, just outnumbering the crowd that attended the previous games in Lexington, Kentucky four years ago. There was also a greater diversity of countries competing in Normandy, with 25% more nations competing in 2014 than in previous events.
The British team finished at the top of the table, achieving 7 gold medals and 15 medals in total. However, this was not all smooth sailing, with the show jumping team unusually finishing outside of the top ten – meaning they will have to qualify for the Rio games via the European Championships. There were, however multiple successes for the British team, with the Dressage, Vaulting and Eventing teams finishing on the podium. Charlotte Dujardin added to her pair of Olympic Golds with two more in Normandy with her horse Valegro. The bulk of Britain’s medals came from the Para-dressage team who continued their dominance, winning four Golds throughout the 2014 competition.
The Dutch team also saw great success, with Jeroen Dubbeldam winning both the individual and team gold medals in the Jumping event, notably clearing four rounds on four different horses. Team USA joined in on the gold rush with Shawn Flarida winning individual and team gold in the Reining competition, taking all three individual medals. In one of the most fast paced and exciting events at the games, Boyd Exell won gold in the Driving event for Australia; a discipline where riders race in chariot-like carts around a challenging course.
The World Equestrian Games is certainly growing and as it does, more people are able to appreciate the combined skills of both the horses and riders at an elite and professional level. This also raises significant awareness for the equestrian industry across the world!Hopefully, in four years time when the games are hosted in Bromont/Montreal the event will see even further growth and appreciation for these athletes across the sphere. Here at Loddon we certainly can’t wait!